NBA Sponsor Kia Turns To LeBron For US Luxury Drive

Kia, which recently extended its contract as the official automotive partner of the NBA, celebrates the new basketball season with a LeBron James fronted campaign for its K900 luxury sedan called ‘Fit For A King’.


Led by a nationwide TV spot, which features James emerging from a K900 at a red carpet event as a star struck valet stumbles over his own words when LeBron tosses him the keys and says ‘Keep it close’, the campaign is rolling out to coincide with the opening of the 2014/15 NBA season.



The auto sponsor’s spot closes with the campaign tagline:


‘Fit For A King. The K900 from Kia. Official Luxury Vehicle of the NBA. ‘


The campaign is further supported by executions across other ad channels and digital platforms.


Kia worked on the initiative with agency David & Goliath where the creative directors were Driscoll Reid and Chris Hutchinson, the copywriter was Chip Waters, the senior art director was Richard Fischer and the account director Mike O’Malley.


The campaign production company was Imperial Woodpecker, with editorial by Spinach, visual effects from The Mill and music supervisor from Squeak E Clean and sound design by Stimmung.


This is the first activation from Kia after its new multi-year endorsement deal with James for the Kia K900 – its first move into the luxury market.


While its most popular model in the USA, the midsize Optima, is the official vehicle of the NBA, the new K900 is the car maker’s first attempt to change America’s perception about what a Kia product is all about.


James has previously received a Kia for winning each of his four MVP awards. He donated each of these cars to charity.




This not only celebrates the auto brand’s newly extended NBA partnership, but it also leverages the tidal wave of publicity surrounding James, the league’s number one super star, as he returns to his home town Cleveland.


Whether Kia and James are a perfect match in the fans’ eyes remains to be seen.


It certainly isn’t the typical luxury brand/luxury vehicle one might typically associate with basketball’s biggest super star.


But it Kia does advertise heavily in and around the NBA season – so the partnership amplifies the exposure of both brand and ambassador.


Kia, which also has 14 sponsorship deals with NBA franchises, is the Official Automotive Partner of NBA All-Star, plus an Official Automotive Partner of NBA Cares and Title Partner of the NBA All-Star MVP Award.


It initially replaced Toyota as the NBA’s official car marquee in 2009.


In October 2014 it extended its partnership as official automotive partner of the NBA, with the added roles as the official luxury vehicle of the league and official automotive partner of both the WNBA and NBA D-League.


In addition to its strong presence on the court with the Kia NBA Performance Awards, the company is also a partner in the league’s own cause led ‘NBA Cares initiative’.


‘Over recent years our relationship with the NBA has significantly raised awareness and consideration for the Kia brand and exposed our exciting line-up of vehicles to basketball fans across the country, and we are pleased to not only return as the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA but to expand our partnership to include new platforms such as NBA All-Star and NBA Cares,’ commented Kia marketing VP Michael Sprague.


‘At Kia, we are true fans of the game, and we will continue to provide innovative and engaging programming and activities to help fuel our fellow basketball fans’ passion for the sport and the Kia brand.’




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